Kidney Disease

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

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I'm human! I'm- just wearing a- cat suit!
Purred: Sat Oct 6, '12 9:39pm PST 
Hello, Catster. It's been a long while since I have been on here, and it's lovely to see that the community is still active. I have gained a wealth of information on this website, along with Dogster, throughout the eight years I have been a member.

Simba's getting older, going on fifteen years old in December. I took him to the veterinarian yesterday due to the fact that I noticed he'd been losing weight, got bloodwork done, and the results came in today. The vet said he has kidney disease and more or less shoved Hills k/d for Renal Health in my face. I'm pretty "urrgh" about it, considering she called me in a rush and kept calling Simba a girl (I had to ask a few times to make sure she was talking about my cat), and I never really got an answer on how severe the disease is, but she did say she wished to see him back every three months for bloodwork. I'm intending to take him for a second opinion to another vet I often go to.

My question for all of you is, I looked at the ingredients on the Science Diet and YUCK! Corn gluten? Pork fat? I'm really not to enthusiastic about what she's wanting me to give him, considering he's been on things such as Nature's Variety and sometimes 4Health (which is still a major step above Science Diet). I'm all for trusting vets, because well, they know more than me, but something seems off about giving him a food that has Corn Gluten in the first three ingredients?

I know that keeping him hydrated it a major thing, and I'm definitely going to be watching his drinking closely. I've had to give sub-q fluids to a cat before.

I was wondering if any of y'all have cats with kidney disease, and if so, what you feed them, or what would be your suggestions??? Simba's really special to me, and I'm really torn up about him going through this.

And I apologize if this is in the wrong section. I was unsure of if it should go in Health or Nutrition.

Edited by author Sun Oct 7, '12 2:59pm PST


Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Sun Oct 7, '12 5:55am PST 
Here's a good web site for cats with kidney disease: http://www.felinecrf.com/ There are food suggstions there, too.

Low phophorus foods seems best. And you want to feed canned food because the high moisture content will help the kidneys flush out the bad body waste stuff out. You can add extra water to the canne food, too. Avoid feeding fish/seafood. Those are very high in phosphorus.

Dr. Lisa of Catinfo.org recenly posted an update canned food chart with phosphprus information: http://www.catinfo.org/docs/Food%20Chart%20Phosphorus%209-22-12.pdf Her other general canned food chart is http://www.catinfo.org/docs/Food%20Chart%20Public%209-22-12.pdf

I think there are phosphorus binder things you can take that will help limit the amount of phosphorus that the kidneys have to filter thinking You can ask the vet about that.


always has time- to lick your- face
Purred: Sun Oct 7, '12 9:09am PST 
My dog brother has kidney disease, and diet is very important! You don't have to settle for Hills. Foxie was on Royal Canin Renal MP, and now Purina NF. Iams also has a renal diet that is very good. All are veterinary kidney diets though.

Kaci- Sunshine - Beloved- Angel

Sugar 'n Spice
Purred: Sun Oct 7, '12 10:29am PST 
Kaci has kidney disease and I'm so sorry Simba's been diagnosed with it too. Kaci was diagnosed with CKD 2 years ago and managing her disease and getting her to eat has been a challenge. At this point, she gets daily sub-q fluids and Pepcid and an appetite stimulant as needed.

Ideally, the best food for CKD cats is wet food but dry food is better than not eating at all if your cat hates wet food. Kaci won't eat prescription wet foods and can't eat dry food and still eats the same grain-free wet foods she ate before being diagnosed with CKD.

Other than Hill's Science Diet, companies that make prescription foods for kidney patients in both dry and canned that you can try are Iams, Royal Canin and Purina. Despite the yucky grains, the prescription diets really do help slow down disease progression.

The most important thing is to get a CKD cat to eat and keep eating! If Simba likes the prescription food and you're comfortable feeding it to him, that's great! If that's not the case, don't stress over it. In that case, my advice is to keep feeding him what he normally eats. Cats with kidney disease often feel yucky and have tummy upsets and lose their appetites. It can be a challenge getting them to eat anything at all and keep them from starving themselves. I don't think trying to force a CKD cat to eat a prescription food he hates is a good idea or very helpful.

As for adding a phosphorus binder, there are tasteless powders that can be added to the food. However, be careful! Not all cats with CKD need a phosphorus binder. Whether or not a cat needs a phosphorus binder is usually based on the BUN number -- 60 and above usually means a phosphorus binder is necessary. Your vet should let you know if and when it would be necessary to add it to the food. Kaci's BUN has never been high and she's never needed it.

May I also suggest that you get a copy of Simba's blood and urinalysis test results, which you're entitled to, along with kidney re-check results. (Kidney re-checks every 3-6 months is normal). Ask your vet to explain thoroughly the test results so you understand what values indicate kidney disease and how it all plays out. If your vet doesn't want to do this, then it might be a good idea to find another vet who will explain everything and work with you.



Princess Forever
Purred: Sun Oct 7, '12 1:43pm PST 
You have to go to Kidney CRF Support for further information. My Natasha had early kidney disease. She won't eat the food and just ate her regular food. It was just important that she eat.
She never went out of early kidney. Her numbers were low. I added more water to her regular food. Cats with this tend to have problems with constipation. She didn't . Get pumkin food for it but the real pumpkin canned food. Read all you can on that website.....My Natasha passed away from her iris melanoma which hit her liver. She was seventeen when she passed....Cats can manage kidney disease but it slowly affects the kidneys over time. As Kaci's mom told you that Kaci has been managed. I was prepared to give fluids but it never happened......


I'm human! I'm- just wearing a- cat suit!
Purred: Sun Oct 7, '12 3:14pm PST 
Thank you so much for all of your advice, everyone. I've bookmarked all of your links. I'm definitely going to be calling the vet tomorrow to see if I can get some specific numbers from her. She honestly didn't portray it as anything SUPER HORRIBLE over the phone; just said it was kidney disease and that he needed to be on Hills. I then got online and started reading about it and put myself in a panic, especially considering he's already lost some weight.

A friend of mine found this canned Nature's Variety food that seems to have pretty low phosphorus? Not sure about the protein content, but I've read places that low protein is debatably better for cats with kidney disease? I can completely understand the reasoning for switching to canned food with it, but, of course, canned food usually has higher protein than dry food.

I'm also going to look into the Royal Canin prescription food. Besides the fact that Hills' ingredients make me "urgh," neither me nor any member of my family have ever had ANY luck getting ANY of our pets to ever eat Hills, and I realize the number one important thing is getting him to eat. Simba does luckily LOVE wet food.

And yes, I completely agree, Kaci. I'm entitled to his bloodwork, and I'll be asking for it tomorrow. I really need to figure out exactly what his BUN is, and now that I've sat here and researched all of this, I at least know what the vet is talking about.

Again, I really, really appreciate all of your guys' help! hug I really need to get back to participating in conversations here on Catster. Y'all are all so incredibly kind.


Princess Forever
Purred: Sun Oct 7, '12 4:29pm PST 
You need the numbers and you paid for them. Then, go to the Feline CRF site and see what they mean. Natasha bounced up and down just a little depending on whether she had a urinary tract infection. I almost went crazy reading labels to find out how much protein there was. It was so frustrating. I bought all kinds of food. I did give her only turkey or chicken most times. She even ate FF too which I believe it garbage cat food but she liked it. Keeping some weight on her was hard. Now, relax and get those numbers.....and some sleep....

Xena- Princess- Warrior - DG#23

Xena the Warrior- Princess
Purred: Sun Oct 7, '12 5:10pm PST 
We are sorry to hear this news as well, my Xena has CRF too, she gets fluids 3 times a week. We tried her on special food for CRf but she doesn't like it, so I talked to her vet and she said it is more important to get them to eat than trying to get them to eat something they don't like and won't eat...Xena eats wellness and fussie cat.

My suggestion is do your research and learn about CRF and do what is best for your baby. We are all here to help you as so many were here for me and Xena.

Question is Simba getting fluids, did the vet give you his blood work results, I get Xena's and she tells me her numbers that they watch.

Xena has had CRF for just about a year now and doing well so far.

We will be purring for Simba

Gumpy Sweet- Boy

Love wrapped in- fur
Purred: Mon Oct 8, '12 10:20am PST 
Hi, I’m sorry to hear that Simba has been diagnosed with kidney disease. I have found that felinecrf.org is very comprehensive for anything related to CKD - felinecrf.org - Tanya's site. It’s a great site and there is also a helpful online forum (yahoo group).

As far as the food, feeding a wet diet with lower phosphorus is helpful. 'Experts’ generally agree about lower phosphorus. Some people feel that feeding the kidney diets to cats with early kidney disease isn’t always necessary and can be problematic because the protein content is quite low (KD has the lowest). You can read on Tanya’s site why keeping phosphorus low is important. There are good food charts on the site which list the phosphorus and other nutritional aspects of many foods at felinecrf.org:
canned food chart. And there is another great new food chart from Dr. Pierson at catinfo.org. Charts on both sites are very helpful.

You can find a lot of canned foods with lower phosphorus out there. I’ve seen people that feed non-prescription lower phosphorus foods and others who feel prescription diets are the way to go, and cats have done well both ways. I fed mostly lower phosphorus commercial canned foods along with some Purina NF (kidney diet) which I think has better ingredients and a little higher protein. You want to watch the creatinine and the BUN, and you should also watch the actual phosphorus levels (on the blood work) to make sure it’s not getting too high. When the phosphorus starts increasing you may need to use phosphorus binders (usually this happens when the disease becomes more advanced). There are other values to watch also. It is helpful to get copies of the bloodwork and learn what all of those blood values mean.

Here is an interesting article about the need for protein for older cats (even those with CKD): Geriatric Pets Need More Protein.

For me, I found this disease can be overwhelming as it progresses, as there can be different conditions that may come along with the disease (for example, Gumpy developed hypertension along with CKD). Learning about this disease at an early stage and what treatments may be needed is beneficial before it may become more advanced. I wish I had done more proactively early on. The disease can be stabilized in a lot of kitties and some can live for a long time with some treatments, but the disease can also progress faster in other kitties; it is generally considered a progressive disease, but it can often be stabilized to some extent. There is a lot of great info out there to help out kitties now. I’m wishing you and Simba all the best. hug

Edited by author Mon Oct 8, '12 10:59am PST



I'm human! I'm- just wearing a- cat suit!
Purred: Tue Oct 9, '12 10:49am PST 
Thanks again for all of your help, guys. I've been going through all of your links and am finding the information extremely helpful.

I'm really irked with my vet right now, because I haven't even gotten the prescription number from her yet, nor the bloodwork results. I was informed yesterday that the receptionist "couldn't find his file," but she'd call me today when I could get a copy. Medical records don't seem like something you should just keep sitting around anywhere??? thinking

In the meantime, I've had Simba on Nature's Variety Instinct cans (which he loves and eats right up), which look to be low in phosphorus. I think that when I get the prescription, I'll be looking into Royal Canin or Purina NF as well.

Simba's been acting his normal self. He certainly has no loss of appetite, considering he's continuing his daily tradition of sitting next to me giving me ~*~the look~*~ when I'm eating. He's been eating and drinking normally as well.

Crossing my fingers that I caught this early on.

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